Bricks and Books

Reinventing the Teaching of Architectural History and Theory


  • Regin Schwaen North Dakota State University
  • Pia Sarpaneva University of Texas at Arlington
  • Niloufar Alenjery Atelier New York Architecture
  • Shane Hawley North Dakota State University
  • Margarita McGrath Virginia Tech


This paper demonstrates a pedagogical approach for the emerging architect through making, crafting, and reflecting in a contemporary architectural history and theory class. The architecture student is not reduced to a passive listener or observant that must consume a series of lectures week after week. Instead this class establishes an environment inspired by the studio culture, where each student has the opportunity to explore, express, and conclude by physical means while reading and learning. The lectures are reduced to twelve throughout the semester allowing more time for assignments designed to foster an exploration of knowledge embodied in buildings and books.